The Defensive Player of the Year conversation this season has primarily revolved around candidates like Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons, but Bucks guard Jrue Holiday believes he should be in that discussion. In fact, that’s an opinion he holds year in and year out, as he tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“Man, I feel like I’m the Defensive Player of the Year every year,” Holiday said. “I’m not joking about that. And I know this is my opinion, and other people have different opinions and they’ll probably think I’m crazy. But I think what I bring defensively on the court, a lot of people don’t really do, to be completely honest.”
As Holiday points out, it’s rare for a guard to receive serious consideration for Defensive Player of the Year honors. The last time a backcourt player won the award was in 1996, when Gary Payton was named DPOY. But Holiday feels that his own performance and versatility on the defensive end of the court shouldn’t be overlooked.
“I think to be able to guard some of these guards night in and night out, every single night, and be able to move laterally, moving your feet, fighting over screens, fighting under screens, guarding them one-on-one 30 feet away from the basket,” Holiday told Haynes. “And there were a couple of years where I was blocking a lot of shots for a guard. So I even protected the rim myself. And then at that, I’m guarding positions one through four, and sometimes five. Defensively, I’ve pretty much done it all. That’s why I think I should be in the conversation every year.”
Here are a few more items from around the Central:
- While there has been a belief that Zach LaVine will look to maximize his earnings on his next contract, several sources who spoke to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times believe LaVine could be persuaded to take a slight discount if the Bulls continue adding quality players around him. Still, a standard extension for LaVine could only be worth up to about $105MM over four years, so he seems unlikely to accept such a deal — Chicago could offer him significantly more in a renegotiation or once he reaches free agency.
- Cavaliers big man Isaiah Hartenstein, who holds a minimum-salary player option for 2021/22, said he’d like to remain in Cleveland, but hinted that he’s leaning toward opting out in the hopes of signing a new deal. “So far everything has been good,” Hartenstein said of his time with the Cavs, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “Can’t really say what’s going to happen in the future, but I hope we can renegotiate something this summer and I can grow with the young guys. I think that would be a good experience.”
- In a mailbag for The Detroit News, Rod Beard says that he expects the Pistons to try to re-sign Frank Jackson in free agency, advocates for giving Sekou Doumbouya more time to develop, and addresses a few other Pistons-related topics.